Beginning our final day in Cabacungan we joined the local church community in their service. After worship we made our own contribution with the performance of a ‘do whop’ version of ‘Amazing Grace’ by the freshly formed, makeshift SCEA Choir. Pastor Pickles (the Ellenbrook chaplain) delivered the sermon and Devlin & Mark bravely shared their testimonies. After the service we were privileged to witness a local baptism. We made the scenic trek to a spring/waterfall where four young girls committed themselves to Christ.
Our midday consisted of the usual feast, much needed naps and final letter fixes before visiting the IRC kids. Despite the sadness we were feeling we all put on our brave faces headed to the community to make some final memories. We enjoyed another church service, this time held at IRC. Although it was difficult to follow along with the Filipino song lyrics, being able to praise hand in hand with the kids made it special. Pastor Pickles spontaneously invited the SCEA Choir back to give our crowd-pleasing performance again.
We brought along personalised bags with toys, school supplies and handmade cards for each of the kids. The food that we packed at the church earlier in the week was distributed to families in need. The polaroids we brought were a hit! Children were lining up left and right and centre for a snap with their new Aussie friends. It was a tangible way they got to capture the memories from our visit. As a memento, we all purchased IRC shirts to express our support for the community.
The emotion we had been holding back finally reached breaking point when we were saying our farewells. We held each other tightly and shared how much they had all touched our hearts. The tears on their sweet faces made saying goodbye all the more heart-wrenching.
The final walk back was the quietest of the trip. We were all reflecting on how much the IRC kids had grown to mean to us. They will always have a special place in our hearts.
We dined beneath the stars with a delicious meal of snags and carrot cake. Mr Beacham treated us to a second round of dessert – ice cream across the road. We thanked our cooks for the week with a basket of goodies and… yes… another spontaneous rendition of our ‘Amazing Grace’.
Today has been filled with joy and tears (& many ‘Amazing Graces’).Could not have asked for a better way to end this incredible experience. Now we’re off to have some good D&Ms. Definitely looking forward to seeing our families and our own beds again soon!
Love from Anni & Lexi
Missing you all xx